Posted by: chnightlife | August 2, 2007

Out of the Box, In the Heights

august-nightlife-2007-postcard_page_1-2.jpgBy Mimi Notik

Admit it. The trendy graphics caught your attention. You saw it from afar, and came closer to see what it was about. And when you did, the headline trapped your curiosity. Nightlife?Yea, you were a little surprised, very intrigued, and even a little excited.Then you saw the small print and gasped.“What? In Crown Heights?!”With Nightlife’s out-of-the-box events and a lounge area fit for Park Slope, it’s no wonder that the many nightly attendees are also surprised. Standing amidst the lounge candles, plants, coffee stand, chic floor pillows and luxurious furniture, it’s not hard to feel like you’ve traveled to an out-of-town locale.But alas, while being at Nightlife might make you say, “Uh, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore,” you’ll find the enormous room when you descend a spiral staircase in a home not very far away – but right on President Street.

Chairman of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, Rabbi Moshe Rubashkin, is Nightlife’s visionary and host. Fully sponsored by The CHJCC, Rubashkin has teamed up with BYIT (a project of THI) to make the unbelievable happen: a cool hang out spot and innovative programs five nights a week for single young ladies living in Crown Heights.

To program coordinator Rochel Leah Shapiro, the stated goal is to make the abundance of single girls in the community “feel like they own their own space in Crown Heights.”

But no matter what the declared goal, Nightlife is surpassing not only the initial vision, but everyone’s expectations.

Since its inception in July, Nightlife has experienced tremendous success. Over 400 girls have been through the doors to enjoy outstanding lectures and fun seminars appealing to an array of interests. Taught by well-researched experts, courses have included jewelry design, voice training, food decorating, sushi-making, professional makeup application, and more.

During lively voice lessons with Kineret, girls (both singers and non-singers alike) learned new techniques, and laughed their way through giving each other advice.

A night with Chana Weisberg gave all the right answers to our common questions on G-d’s ways – as she eloquently painted a picture of how everything that happens is part of the past, present, and future.

On Tisha B’Av, close to 90 girls showed up to Nightlife and heard Eicha by candlelight – an incredible alternative to the usual experience.

Perhaps the most astonishing thing about Nightlife is the variety of girls that attend. While many might wonder, “Is this going to be my crowd?” there really is no way to label the group that arrives to Nightlife events.

“The programs attract every type of person,” says Mushkee Wolf, a Crown Heights resident.

When brainstorming for the project, Shapiro was encouraged to pinpoint a target audience, but she felt the idea went against the goal of harboring unity. As it turns out, her refusal was warranted. Girls of every age, background, and social bent have walked through the doors to discover a common identity and experience the ultimate meshing of Crown Heights singles.

Perhaps it’s possible because of what many call, “a chilled out environment.”

Says one girl, “Here, when someone asks you what you do, you don’t have to act like you’re busy. You can just say, ‘nothing’ and it’s totally fine.”

Nightlife seems to have established a refined and stylish presence that surprised many girls. Aside for the debonair décor, the food is always plentiful, fresh, presented with marked originality, and what one girl calls, “beyond delicious.” Along with the actual programs, many details – including colorful tablecloths and a fun stand-up chalkboard – all come together to create a vibe that feels like the perfect medium between trendy and sophisticated.

“Everything is done with class,” says Ita Friedman.

Recently, a captivating lecture with Rabbi Shea Hecht was followed by a wine-tasting. Guided by professional wine connoisseurs, girls tried out different wines, each accented by five corresponding courses of fancy hors d’oeuvres.

It was the first night for Rochelle Oliver, and she was pleasantly surprised. “This is certainly on the edge,” she said with a smile.

The good news is that the up-scale vibe and professional programming doesn’t stamp Nightlife events with a pricey fee (one evening costs $5). Referring to Nightlife’s sought-after lecturers, Rina Meckler says, “You come here and it’s not the typical ‘oh, let’s learn,’ and it’s always something that people would usually pay a lot for.” Nightlife also offers “5th night on-the-house!” cards, with a free entry after four nights of participation.

This coming month, Nightlife has announced programs that include self defense (Krav-Maga, to be specific), a drumming circle, spa-night, and more. Sunday nights are devoted to entertainment – featuring Concert with Open-Mic and Jewish Jazz nights – while Mondays and Thursdays will feature captivating speakers, with new additions; Sara Esther Crispe, Esther Piekarski, Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe, and Rivka Slonim, to name a few.

The full Nightlife picture points to something very revolutionary. Seeing the void that Nightlife has filled for so many thus far, people have been asking about making a version for boys, and mothers are constantly asking if they can join.

So what makes this nightlife different from all other nightlifes?

Is it the trendy set-up? Social opportunities? The topics addressed by lecturers? The delectable food? With each aspect given careful attention, it’s hard to decide.

But one thing’s for sure:

If you’re a single girl living in the hood, you’ve got plans tonight.


Save the date! Sunday, August 5th: Concert and open-mic. Take to the stage with singing, music, poetry, dance, comedy, or whatever else you might have up your sleeve (really)! Sunday August 12th: Enjoy live music and an open cocktail bar! Be sure to visit for up-to-date professional pictures and recap of events!Email:



  1. Thanks for such a great program!!

  2. Your article really says it the way it is!!! I’ve gone to nightlife several times and wish I could attend more often, as each program gets better and better – I hate missing out on good fun and chillin’ with new friends!

  3. I expected my summer to be pretty ordinary – nightlife brought it up there on the scale!! I took my friends with me the other night and now they go all the time. When I can’t make it, I wonder all evening, ‘what am I missing out on’? I love it that you have all these courses where we learn things practical for life!

  4. This is the most unbelievable program – you learn so much, and all different types of things!

  5. I expected my summer to be pretty ordinary – nightlife brought it up there on the scale!! I brought my friends and now they go all the time, even when I can’t. Thank you to everyone behind it all!!

  6. I think it is the most unbelievable thing that so much care and attention is being given to us girls, in-towners and out-of-towners alike, for us to have such substancial and professional programs available to us – my mother’s so jealous. 😉

  7. Beautiful article! Amazing program. Thanks, to all involved.

  8. Great post I learned alot! Thanks =)

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